What 4 Chicago Salespeople See As the Keys to Closing Deals

October 31, 2019

Every salesperson approaches their job differently. Some rely on full transparency with customers, others let the product do the talking for them. In a dynamic field like tech sales, it should come as no surprise that there is more than one way to close more deals.

Having deep product knowledge, customer empathy and resilience are just a few key traits the following salespeople said the role requires. The more subtle skills that help them find success? You’ll have to read on to find out.

 

ActiveCampaign team members working in their office
activecampaign

Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” ActiveCampaign’s Account Executive Ryan Adkins said he carries a similar mentality with him into his role at the customer engagement SaaS provider. Adkins said falling a little short in reaching a goal can be an opportunity to learn, bounce back and swish a game-winning shot in the future.

 

What sales tactic have you learned since joining your team that has had a major impact on your performance?

Something that has made a major impact for me is conscious selling. From my very first touchpoint with a potential client to the last, I’m looking to get a clear picture of what they value in a marketing and sales solution. It starts with understanding their business needs, pain-points and goals. From there, I want to learn why their current system isn’t meeting their needs, what motivated them to have a look at ActiveCampaign and how we can provide a solution that they’ll be happy with long-term. 

In order to accomplish this, it’s important to build a meaningful relationship with the client. Once you understand the intricacies of their business, it’s easy to provide true value that will resonate with the customer long after the sale. My goal is to sign customers that truly see the value and will continue to grow their business using our solution.

 

If you’re willing to swallow your pride and be honest with yourself, you’ll always learn more from your failures than your successes.”

What’s another successful tactic that you’ve used throughout your career that some may find surprising?

I believe that the number one ingredient for long-term success in sales, or life in general, comes down to being accountable. There’s simply no room for excuses or long-winded reasons as to why you didn’t get the outcome you were working for. I always try to have multiple contingency plans in place for how I will reach my goal every month, but even so, this does not guarantee success. 

My experiences have taught me that if you’re willing to swallow your pride and be honest with yourself, you’ll always learn more from your failures than your successes. Having a relentlessly positive outlook is a great complement to accountability. When something goes wrong, I say, “good.” I didn’t hit quota? Good. Now I can dissect what I could’ve done better and implement feedback from our leadership team. Every month is a rollercoaster and every day is an opportunity to get better. I never promise to hit my goal every month. I simply promise to be accountable, have a positive attitude and remain open to feedback.

 

Rewards Network team members playing ping pong
rewards network

To thrive, restaurants need more than delectable small plates and good vibes. Account Executive Yuly Coleman at Rewards Network, a Chicago-based company aiming to level up the restaurant industry through tech-driven financial and marketing services, understands that more than most. But the key to turning that understanding into success, she said, was to keep things simple. 

 

What sales tactic have you learned since joining your team that has had a major impact on your performance?

There are two tactics I have learned that have had a major impact on my performance. First, you must completely understand the value our product provides to the restaurant industry, and our training program does a fantastic job of establishing the value. The second is keeping it simple. You must make the sales presentation your own, but our Director of Learning and Development Jay Fortuna does a great job of making sure that we keep it simple enough for any prospect to understand.

 

I have made it a daily habit to incorporate social media in my prospecting process.”

What’s another successful tactic you’ve used throughout your career that some may find surprising?

Another successful tactic is leveraging social media when prospecting. Finding new prospects is one of the most important stages in the sales cycle. I have made it a daily habit to incorporate social media in my prospecting process.

 

Syndigo team members laughing
Syndigo

As a content management and analytics solution for over 7,500 global brands, Syndigo handles a lot of nuanced customer product data. Business Development Manager Nick Payne said the same attention to detail should be placed into interactions with prospects as well. He said learning everything you can about your potential customers early, then giving them a tailor-made message can have a huge impact on building trust. 

 

What sales tactic have you learned since joining your team that has had a major impact on your performance?

A methodology that has been drilled into our entire team is leading discussions by asking open questions, probing for more information in follow-up and confirming what we heard. Being abundantly curious can uncover the goals a client is looking to achieve or the issues they are looking to solve. If we don’t know the reasons behind why a prospect would buy, they won’t be able to build a case for working with us either.

 

Being abundantly curious can uncover the goals a client is looking to achieve or the issues they are looking to solve.”

What’s another successful tactic that you’ve used throughout your career that some may find surprising?

A tactic that I believe shouldn’t come as a major surprise, but one I often see underutilized across sales, is doing research prior to conducting outreach or hosting a meeting. As often as possible, I seek to gain credibility to show the prospect I know them. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips — LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, industry newsletters and Salesforce — that can help differentiate our messaging from all of the noise that a customer can be inundated with. There are many things in this role that are outside of our control but preparation beforehand is in our court.

 

Built In team members chatting on couches
built in

Fancy seeing you here! Built In connects tech professionals with the jobs of their dreams. Enterprise Account Executive Rebecca Davidson said being honest with client companies sounds like a simple concept, but it’s one that pays off in droves, resulting in less time wasted, accurate pipelines and more referrals down the road.

 

What sales tactic have you learned since joining your team that has had a major impact on your performance?

Staying true to your customer’s needs and being authentic in your approach to selling, both in how you show your personality and in the product recommendations you make. Something that came directly from our CEO was the concept that not every prospect is a deal meant to be sold. We don’t sell solutions if they aren’t a good fit just to hit a quota. With this mindset, we are able to go into every call as a listener and consultant as opposed to a one-track-minded salesperson, which has changed the dynamic of what a sales call feels like.

We built up a reputation of being honest with our customers, which leads to referrals and, often times, to us being the first call someone makes when they start a new role and bring us on as a vendor. 

 

You are respected more and are more likely to get something done if you are upfront with customers.”

What's another successful tactic that you've used throughout your career that some may find surprising?

Being direct, transparent and honest with your prospects and customers in the questions you ask surrounding their interest in moving forward with buying. It’s human nature to avoid conflict. Unless you poke holes in all the reasons someone won’t move forward, most of the time it seems like everyone is a great buyer and interested in your product. This results in pipelines that are not accurate and deals that never get closed.

I am always surprised at how many reps are afraid to ask direct questions around budgets, process and timing. And when they’re afraid to lose a deal, many reps are fearful of pushing back on customers who are asking for something that is not doable or unreasonable. 

The best thing I ever learned was to ask a ton of questions around the buying process and budgets. Even though it can be uncomfortable, you will be more respected by your prospect and are more likely to get something done. This means understanding customers’ motivations, concerns and process for buying, but also voicing what motivates you to negotiate. This way, we can come to an agreement together on why we can or can’t make a deal, and most importantly, a timeline for when either outcome may actually happen. 

 

 

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